The focus in Chelsea’s first preseason match over the weekend was purely on fitness, to get the legs moving in a semi-competitive match setting. That focus has started to shift a bit towards the tactical for yesterday’s game, our second friendly of the summer.
While the result itself still didn’t matter, our quality of play now did, at least a little bit. And unfortunately, that quality suffered quite a bit last night, which made Thomas Tuchel not particularly pleased. The match getting delayed by an hour probably didn’t help the mood, nor did granting a late equalizer before coming up second best in yet another penalty kick shootout — our third in a row. But it was mainly the fact that our problems were very familiar problems that put the head coach into a sour mood.
“If we keep on struggling to feel these things and finish these things off, it will not be the first time we get punished. If you keep an opponent alive, belief alive, the stadium alive, anything can happen. That’s why we love the game. So this is on us. I had the feeling they played with more courage, man on man in the second half, and we struggled to escape because we didn’t move enough.
“Our ball possession was not precise enough, our movement with the ball was not balanced enough to escape the pressure, so it was a pretty even game in the second half and not what we wanted.”
The second half effort was particularly disappointing as it featured Raheem Sterling for the first time in a Chelsea shirt, and while he did okay, the rest of the team were not quite up for it. And while it was a bit better in the first-half, that performance was quite incomplete as well.
“In general, I would say we played a good first half but unfortunately, only 80 meters of the pitch. The last 20 meters of the pitch were not good enough, even in the first half. We found a lot of spaces to accelerate and penetrate the box but we struggled with our decision-making and precision in the last 20 meters. This was simply not good enough for the effort and quality we showed in the first 80 meters of the pitch and the amount of space we had, and the number of attacks we created, there were not enough clear chances and deliveries in the last 20 meters .
“We also have to say we allowed two big chances out of nothing in the first half, otherwise I think we played a very good match in all the other aspects.
“Second half, it took us half an hour to show some quality and then it was maybe for ten minutes, so it was not good at all. Not offensively, not structure-wise, not in effort, hunger to be the dominant team. It was not good enough.”
“[It] doesn’t matter what I have in my mind, the only thing that matters is what I see on the pitch. I saw four accelerations in the second half and they all came from Raheem. This is what he delivers and there is no need for major doubts or huge criticism, but it is never important what the manager has in his head before pre-season, it’s the reality that counts. Every day in training and matches like this count and from there we go.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Fortunately, we’re still in just preseason, so we can actually spend the time in training to work on these issues.